” Writing for Hera Says we obviously get to listen to a lot of music – some great, some absolutely breathtaking and some, well not so much. But every once in a long, long while you get something else – something very special indeed….” – Hera Says blog
2 songs from the Debut EP “Breakables”. The EP has only been released to fans on CD, and aired on Scottish radio:
“a female David Bowie” – Stardust
“sounds like Kate Bush meets Liberteens” – Pomona Sounds
“bringing you the sounds of electro-grunge that could easily be described as elegant punk” – Sound & Motion Magazine
“the thick relentless bass reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Dead Souls” , and the vocals a stunning amalgamation of Candia Ridley (Inkubus Sukkubus) and Courtney Love (Hole)” – Black Flag Magazine
“a true original who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes rock. No label spin or hype – just old school rock attitude breaking new ground.” – James Tighe, Croydon Radio
“…we were practically knocked back onto the street by the thundering bass sound coming from the stage. Sarah from Zara was sound checking and it could be measured on the Richter scale. I think that someone reported there was too much treble. In Birmingham.” – The Croydon Citizen.com
“I’ve heard lots of brilliant bands here today, but you have the songs.” “Loved your band!”- JC Carroll, The Members.
“you sound like a cross between Blondie and Queens of the Stone Age, like Joy Division and Nirvana” – audience member
“they must be huge here?” – a Frenchman at Barfly
Zara is a multi-instrumentalist rocker from South London who puts out her own recordings, and performs live with her versatile team of bandmates. Music for lovers of the Kills, the Killers, the Pixies, Savages, the Breeders, Bauhaus, Bowie, IAMX. The songs are darkly catchy like the plague. She earned her stripes on the London gig circuit before recording the debut EP “Breakables” (solo) after much demand from fans. Facebook.com/listenZara www.zaramusic. co.uk
Zara (real name Sarah Garrod) is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist. Growing-up on a smallholding near Ipswich, she spent her youth listening to John Peel (until he died) and hoping to escape the dull flat fields of Suffolk, where the best music was the occasional punk gig. Gary Numan and his pioneering electronic music lit a spark. At an early age she started taking radios apart and moved onto modding musical jewellery boxes and synths.
Now based in Greenwich, South London, she says music is “her calling” and has immersed herself in it for 5yrs.
Zara comes from the mystical side of songwriting, she writes song ideas in her sleep and records them on her iPhone, sometimes with no recollection of doing so. After the spiritual part, she hones things down with mathematical precision, often writing from her beloved bass guitar upwards. There are intricate and unusual rhythms. She took some drum lessons and exams (alongside a queue of teenage boys) but likes to mess with tradition. She records her voice in 3 octaves to give her trademark 3D effect, and that’s just one of her unconventional Production techniques. When she says she played everything on her debut EP “Breakables” people have asked “who drummed?, who is doing the low backing vocals?” because they assume it’s a male. She makes up her own guitar tunings, pushing to be inventive at every stage.
With a background in theatre , Zara chases that magical connection you get with an audience, her piercing eyes stare right into you from the stage. There is no shoe-gazing here, even though she loves her effects pedals. Zara formed her own band and gathered a live following who demanded a recording. She made the debut EP “Breakables” as a solo production backed by a successful Pledge Music campaign that exceeded 150% of target.
There are Grunge, Goth and Alt Rock sounds in Zara’s music. The sound has been likened to Joy Division, the Pixies, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, IAMX, Savages, Sonic Youth (or maybe that is because Zara is the spit of Kim Gordon), Anna Calvi and PJ Harvey. She used a vintage Synclavier synth on the EP lending a retro 80s vibe. Opening track “Bad With Names” has a rock feel akin to the Black Keys, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Band of Skulls, Iggy Pop, the Kills. Track 2, “Like The English Sea” is about being a tough but sensitive woman and all the inconsistencies that brings, the chorus :
“Spare me, my dignity as your spirit crashes over me, Spare me your pleasantries I want it rough, like the English Sea”.
Hera Says blog describes the song as “wholly original, perfect and somehow eternal”. On stage, the songs swing from sparse to heavy in seconds, reflecting that dichotomy between frailty and strength that is so central to Zara’s songs. Its a genuine and refreshingly ‘female’ perspective. “My Beautiful Boy” is a love song, it has fans swaying at gigs, but if you listen closely the lyrics it’s about locking a boy in a cellar and torturing him. “Vampire, Vampire” has a bit of glam rock to it, another catchy song along the lines of the Killers, the Pixies or the Cure. Zara annoys promoters with her fluid genre identity! Her goal is to seek originality, and she follows her idol Bowie’s path of change.
The band line-up is also fluid, there is a core team of bandmates that switches around with their availability, Zara makes no apologies for that, the more she has to throw in her test tube the better. Current band members are Ben the drummer (who met Sarah when they worked in a darkroom), Angela poached from Croydon for bass duties, and Tabitha a young pianist on synth. They rehearse in Deptford, where this is a lively underground music scene. There is unmistakable South London grit in Zara’s music.
The debut EP was a toe-in-the-water, the 1st album is glimmering in Zara’s eye right now and will be brimming with originality and variety.
Next on Zara’s busy agenda are a DIY video for”Vampire, Vampire”, and a massive Halloween Party at the New Cross Inn with cherry-picked support bands. She books the shows, she makes instruments, she writes the songs… control freak perhaps, maestro maybe, or just a DIY artist trying to get her unique voice heard.
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